Qualities of a Great Pre-school teacher
By Terry Roderiques, OTR/L Promise the Children, Volunteer
As an Occupational Therapist that travels to many schools in my system, I have the pleasure of working with a number of very talented teachers. In researching and thinking over the topic of what qualities I would want in a pre-school teacher, I decided to pick 8 of my most favorite characteristics. This is a limited list and my opinion only. I have listed some references of several articles I found online. This is in no particular order of importance and of course the degree in which someone expresses this trait differs, but ultimately these qualities produce an excellent teacher:
- Organized- For me an organized teacher sets a tone in the room. When I walk in whether it’s for small group or large, knowing where I am working and that they are ready for me makes a big difference. It’s nice to know that I can start my lesson on time. Young children need structure more than anything else. Routines are very important and things that are predictable help with that structure.
- Cooperative- This is an important quality to have when working with therapists and other teachers and staff. It is also necessary when dealing with parents. Working as part of a team to reach common goals is very important and being someone who is can contribute and do their share is always appreciated.
- Enthusiasm- I personally can get pretty crazy with my kids. I love to laugh and have fun, but I still know I am meeting my goals. Some of the best teachers I’ve worked with have that energy and bounce that runs through the room. You can feel the spirit when you walk in. It’s hard to contain young children.
- Respects Differences- In the system I work in, there are many ethnic families and children from various home environments. We all come to school to teach and learn. That feeling should emanate from the teacher and all the children should feel safe and comfortable.
- Flexible- Young children are not predicable and their environment should be somewhat flexible and change when necessary. There are also many school events that impact class routines and a teacher needs to roll with that as well.
- Creativity- One of my favorite teachers was creative yet simple in her lessons. They don’t need to be complex as long as the lesson contains a learning experience.
- Realistic- Goals and objectives need to be things that are achievable. Being able to re-adjust an objective shows that your vision is also realistic. Some students do take longer to learn. Everyone learns at their own pace.
- Warm & Genuine- Children as well as adults can tell how committed you are to them. Wanting to be there and showing it is very important and means a great deal. Everyone can work cooperatively when the environment feels great.
A good pre-school teacher can make all the difference in a child’s educational career by giving them a great feeling about learning and encouraging them to grow and challenge themselves every day. You know you have that when your child comes home and can’t wait to go back the next day!
Children want someone they can look up to and confide in– a rude, impatient teacher is not going to make them feel too great about themselves. Especially if they have a difficult home life, being yelled at in another place will only make things harder for them. Teachers expect respect from students, but they must also respect their students.
I think being warm and genuine is so important. I know of so many teachers and child care workers who spend most of their time yelling at kids. I think it’s important that teachers understand that showing kindness and affection is not a weakness.
Thank you, Delaney!